TODAY is International Women’s Day – a chance to celebrate inspirational women across the world.

We are taking a look closer to home, at some of the people who have made a difference to their communities in mid Cheshire.

We want to hear about the women in your community who have inspired you. Email to share their stories.

Gina Martin, Northwich

Northwich Guardian: Gina Martin and her lawyer

After enduring a terrible experience at a festival, Gina refused to be beaten and turned her attention to making a difference to help all women.

A stranger took a photo up her skirt, leading to an 18-month campaign to make ‘upskirting’ a sexual offence in its own right.

With the support of lawyer Ryan Whelan (pictured) and various MPs, new voyeurism legislation was passed in January 2019 – with an average of almost one report made every day in the first 12 months by newly empowered victims.

Linda Boden, Middlewich

Northwich Guardian: Linda Boden

When Linda lost her son Andrew to a cardiac arrest in 2006 aged just 26, she decided no other family should have to endure the same pain.

Through years of tireless fundraising and campaigning, Linda is responsible for scores of defibrillators being installed in public places and easily-accessible locations across the north west.

Working with SADS UK to tackle sudden arrhythmic death syndrome, she has raised thousands and thousands of pounds to make sure lifesaving help is available to those who need it in her community and beyond.

Sarah Flannery, Knutsford

Northwich Guardian: Independent Sarah Flannery

As head of Knutsford Promenades and Queen's Award-winning volunteer group Knutsford Hosts, Sarah has played a huge part in some of the town’s biggest events.

Notably, she teamed up with the nationwide Heritage Open Days festival to bring an Alan Turing LGBT exhibition and educational production to Knutsford in 2018 – gaining national coverage.

Sarah also used her drive and determination to help her own community, spearheading the innovative ‘Plastic Free Pickmere’ campaign and inspiring others across the country.

Sarah Pickles, Winsford

Northwich Guardian: miracle baby.jpg

Sarah has made a habit of overcoming adversity – and has shared her story to help inspire other women facing difficulties of their own.

After getting the all clear in 2017 following a year-long breast cancer battle, Sarah and husband Dave dreamt of ‘completing their family’ with a brother for their young daughter, Lillie – but were told that Sarah would not be able to conceive again.

But, after a scan revealed a shadow on Sarah’s spine which concerned doctors, further examination found that she was pregnant with Monty against all odds.

Her book, The Shock Factor: Sarah’s Story - beating breast cancer one day at a time, reached top seller status on Amazon within hours of release.

Lindsay Occleston, Roberts Bakery

Northwich Guardian: Lindsay Occleston (check) urges Traffiord residents to support the Genesis campaign (53942674)

Lindsay, a fourth-generation family member at Rudheath-based Roberts Bakery, has used her place in the business world to boost the fight against breast cancer.

A survivor herself, she has backed – and launched – numerous campaigns to raise awareness and funds for research into breast cancer and support for those going through treatment.

From ‘using her loaf’ to endurance events, Lindsay has raised thousands and inspired family members, colleagues and the wider community to do their bit.

Sam Lyon, Winsford

Northwich Guardian: Sam Lyon brings music to the art festival.

Singer-songwriter Sam is a hugely popular figure in mid Cheshire, in the music world and beyond.

A must-have for community events and high-profile gigs alike, unsigned artist Sam set out aged 14 armed just with her guitar and forged a career in a notoriously difficult and male-dominated industry.

A recent release saw Sam turn her attention to climate change, with the worldwide release of her single Dangerously Changing raising funds for environmental charities in the UK.

Freya Lewis, Holmes Chapel

Northwich Guardian: Freya Lewis with her Young Fundraiser Award at the NHS Heroes Awards at the Hilton Hotel in London (Ian West/PA)

As Freya endured months of treatment in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing, in which she tragically lost schoolfriend Nell Jones, few could have foreseen the immense strength she would show.

Then aged just 14, the Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School student returned to complete her GCSEs, while also raising thousands of pounds for the Manchester Children’s Hospital which saved her life.

Incredibly, part of her fundraising campaign saw her complete the Junior Great Manchester Run just 12 months after the attack – helping her raise £60,000.

Earlier this year she told her courageous, inspirational story and in a book entitled What Makes Us Stronger.

Debbie Dixon, Northwich

Northwich Guardian: From left: Debbie Dixon and Ellie Bass, who was one of 102 people to be screened at Brio

Since tragically losing her 23-year-old son Aaron in 2013 to an undiagnosed heart defect, Debbie has helped thousands of youngsters and families gain peace of mind.

A foundation set up in Aaron’s name has gone on to raise thousands of pounds, which in turn has funded heart screening days for those aged 14 to 35.

Each screening day – of which Debbie organises up to 10 a year – costs £5,000 and gives 100 people a free heart test to check for underlying heart conditions.

Kate Blakemore

Northwich Guardian: Kate Blakemore, CEO of Motherwell Cheshire.

Since becoming the founder of Motherwell Cheshire back in 2015, counsellor Kate has empowered thousands of women in Winsford.

Supporting women on their motherhood journey, the charity embraces the often-turbulent experiences all families endure and offers women the help and support they need.

A mentoring scheme helps put minds at ease, and Kate also organises an annual Winsford Women’s Day to mark the international celebrations.

Rachael King, Northwich

Northwich Guardian: Rachael King, pictured with husband Ben, receiving the award

Rachael and husband Ben’s three young children all have epilepsy, leading them to see first-hand the difficulties the condition can present.

Undeterred, Rachael set out to help others and raise awareness – as well as funds – to educate people of what to do in an emergency.

Her message has spread far and wide, with more than £10,000 raised for Leighton Hospital.

In the words of Mid Cheshire Hospitals Charity manager Emma Robertson: “I was blown away by her determination and enthusiasm for fundraising. Her positivity shines through.”